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Can A GoPro Zoom In And Out? Compatible Models & How To Zoom

GoPros are the ultimate outdoor action cameras. They have a wide lens and durability and can even record underwater. However, the zoom function is the one feature where GoPros fall behind specialized cameras. But do GoPros have the zoom, and how does it compare to regular cameras? 

You can zoom in and out with a GoPro before taking a picture or starting a video. This zoom feature is available in the latest GoPro Hero Black models from the Hero Black 7 onwards. However, it’s a digital zoom, and the picture or video quality isn’t the same as cameras with optical zoom. 

Let’s explore the zoom feature on GoPros, how they compare with optical zoom cameras and whether you can attach an optical zoom lens to your GoPro. 

Can You Zoom on a GoPro?

Taking video with action camera on handheld stick

You can zoom on a GoPro (on Amazon), but the quality of a picture or video taken with the zoom feature will be slightly lower. While specialized cameras offer more powerful optical zoom, GoPros only have digital zoom, and this feature is only available in the latest GoPro models.

You can zoom while taking pictures or recording a video. If you have one of the later GoPro models like the Hero Black 8, 9, and 10, you’ll get decent quality footage with the zoom feature since these cameras record in 1080p. However, it’s still not as clear as the optical zoom feature in many specialized cameras. 

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that GoPro cameras will ever get optical zoom. GoPros are lightweight and built for adventure filming. The durability of a GoPro is its advantage, and adding an optical zoom lens to the camera may affect this.

However, the digital zoom feature will improve as GoPros get more advanced and record in higher resolutions. 

GoPro Models with Zoom Available

The latest GoPro Hero Black series models all have digital zoom, starting from the GoPro Hero 7 Black. In addition, GoPro 7 Silver and GoPro 7 White also have a digital zoom feature.

Unfortunately, if you have a model older than the GoPro Hero 7 Black, you won’t be able to take photos or record videos with the zoom feature. 

However, the digital zoom in GoPro cameras is similar to cropping the image to focus on a specific area. You can do this with most photo editing software. Even Adobe Photoshop has a feature that allows you to enable cropping to videos to give it a zoom effect.  

So, even if you have an older GoPro that doesn’t have digital zoom, you can edit your photos and videos to get the same digital zoom effect.

Digital vs. Optical Zoom

While GoPros have built-in digital zoom, many specialized cameras offer optical zoom. While optical zoom will get you better quality images, it’s doubtful that GoPros will have this feature since it’s too costly and doesn’t fit in with the design of GoPro cameras.

So, what’s the difference between digital and optical zoom, and why doesn’t your GoPro have optical zoom? 

Digital Zoom

Digital zoom allows you to zoom into existing frames of a picture or video. However, the more you zoom in, the lower the picture quality will get as the current camera lens position limits the zoom feature. It’s similar to zooming into a picture on your smartphone or laptop after taking the photo. 

Optical Zoom

Optical zoom requires an optical lens that adjusts according to the zoom level. This allows you to take high-quality pictures in zoom mode. With optical zoom, you’ll be able to capture finer details in images without compromising the photo or video resolution. 

While optical zoom is great, there are a few reasons why GoPros don’t have optical zoom. Firstly, optical lenses are expensive and won’t fit with the pricing model of GoPros. Secondly, they are heavy and get damaged easily. 

Considering that the GoPro is an action camera used when you wouldn’t want to take your phone camera, having an optical lens on a GoPro isn’t an option. The last thing you want is an expensive camera with an optical lens to break while recording a biking trip. 

How Do You Zoom in on a GoPro?

Using the zoom feature on a GoPro is similar to zooming on a smartphone’s camera. You can easily zoom by manually adjusting the lens on the screen of the GoPro. Follow these steps to use the zoom on your GoPro camera: 

  1. Set the zoom before you take a picture or start recording a video. Once you start recording, you won’t be able to use many functions, including the zoom feature. 
  1. Click on a magnifying glass icon on the GoPro screen. 
  1. Use the slider to adjust the zoom level. 
  1. Take a picture or start recording. 

Using the zoom feature on a GoPro is as simple as that. While GoPro cameras don’t offer much in terms of zoom features, the video quality is reasonable considering that it’s an action camera. 

Using a Zoom Lens with Your GoPro 

While GoPros only offer digital zoom, you can modify or change the lens to be compatible with optical zoom. Unfortunately, while many optical lenses are available for regular cameras, you can’t attach an optical lens to a GoPro because it has a fixed lens. 

However, some companies offer to modify your GoPro to contain an optical lens. They will either attach an optical lens to your GoPro or change it, so it works with optical zoom. Aftermarket lenses like this one (on Amazon) can add unique features, although many seem to be dedicated to features that aren’t increasing the zoom capabilities.

The Best Optical Lenses

When choosing a zoom lens for your GoPro, look for one that will suit the purpose for which you need the zoom feature. Here are the best optical lenses for GoPro cameras: 

Nehvovit Telescope Lens

This telescopic lens offers 12x zoom without compromising image quality! In addition, it’s a pocket-friendly lens, making it perfect for GoPros.  

Adcom Lens 

If you’re looking for a lens that’s both reliable and affordable, the Adcom lens is perfect. You can easily attach it to any camera and zoom up to 24x. And it’s a multi-layer optical lens used by many professional photographers worldwide. 

Telephoto Universal 22x Lens 

This lens is ideal if you want to get the most delicate details in your pictures when zooming. It comes with 22x zoom and an aluminum tripod, giving you everything you need for some next-level professional GoPro photography. 

Which Companies Offer GoPro Lens Modification? 

Small action camera

While you can get these lenses with universal clips that fit most cameras, they usually don’t fit onto GoPros. The only way to get them fitted onto your GoPro is with a company that offers lens modification. 

Some companies like Peu Productions and Backbone modify the lenses of GoPros and other cameras. For example, they may remove the original lens and replace it with a lens that has optical zoom, or they may attach the optical zoom lens to the existing GoPro lens. 

Other companies offer modifications that allow you to use universal zoom lenses on a GoPro. For example, Phoneskope provides all types of GoPro modifications and may modify your GoPro to become compatible with external zoom lenses.

However, buying a camera with an optical lens may be better if you factor in the lens and modification cost. But modifying a GoPro may be the best option if you don’t want to carry a heavy camera around on your outdoor adventures.